A thousand rubles, or about $34, was enough to bribe an airline agent to put a Chechen woman on board a flight just before takeoff, according to Russian investigators. The agent took the cash, and on a ticket the Chechen held for another flight simply scrawled, “Admit on board Flight 1047.”
And this was not the first time:
Authorities have acknowledged that a similar group of gunmen paid off police in 2002 as they transported a virtual armory of assault rifles, hand grenades and explosives all the way from the south to Moscow, where they seized a theater filled with patrons. The subsequent standoff left 129 hostages dead. “They admitted it,” Satarov said. “But it was two years ago, and nothing has been done.”
And it has been nine years since Shamil Basayev, the Chechen guerrilla leader, led an assault force that took over a hospital with more than 1,000 people in the southern city of Budennovsk. That attack ended with more than 100 civilian deaths. Basayev later told an interviewer that he had gotten past police road stops with $10,000 in bribes and had intended to go all the way to Moscow but stopped in Budennovsk because he ran out of money.
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